Terrace of the Lions – Mikonos, Greece - Atlas Obscura

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Terrace of the Lions

Replicas of Apollo's leonine stone guard cats still line a sacred row in Greece. 


Located across the road from the now dry lake where legend places the birth of ancient Greek sun god Apollo, the Terrace of the Lions preserves the memory of what was once an imposing series of stone lions.

The original row of up to 12 (although there may have been as many as 16) stone lions was built around 600 BCE by the people of Naxos in honor of the god Apollo. The lions are faced East towards the Sacred Lake of Delos where Greek scholars of the time believed Apollo had been born. The lions seemed to have been placed in a position to either symbolically guard the site, or to simply inspire a sense of divine power to travelers on their way to Apollo’s shrine in the area. While visitors can still stroll by the original location of the five remaining lion statues, these are simply marble replicas. The actual feline figures have been moved to a nearby museum so that no more of the holy cats goes missing or gets destroyed by the elements.  

Know Before You Go

Take the small ferry from Mikonos to Delos. The Island of Delos is a visit-only archaeological site without any accommodation facilities so staying overnight is not possible.

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